ACUPCC School Innovations: Arizona State University

March 24, 2011

The following was authored by Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow for the 2007 ACUPCC Annual Report. View the report in full here. View the school’s progress on the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Photo courSandy Johnson adjusts the mortarboard on her daughter, Candi Swaim, prior to the Spring 2009 Convocation of Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability. Ms Swaim, of Show Low, AZ, is part of the first graduating class from GIOS.tesy of Arizona State University

As a founding member institution of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment,Arizona State University continues to maintain a strong institutional commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions on our four campuses.  We are proud of our accomplishments thus far.  During the past year, ASU has instituted a number of organizational changes to improve our ability to deal with climate change and other sustainability issues.  We have established an Office of University Sustainability Practices charged with facilitating the realization of our carbon neutrality goals.  Consistent with our institutional commitment to sustainability, four recently completed buildings have been recipients of a LEED designation, including a platinum rating, the first such certification in Arizona.  All new campus buildings will henceforth be required to meet a minimum standard of LEED silver certification.

In what we feel is an innovative approach to the first phase of our campus solarization project, the university has issued a request for proposals to install an initial 310,000 square feet of solar photovoltaic and mechanical solar systems.  We have expanded our alternative transportation initiatives significantly, increasing the popularity of our free bus pass program for students, faculty, and staff from 300,000 one-way trips in 2004 to 1.4 million in 2007.  We are also partnering with Zipcar to increase options for our bus and bike commuters.

At ASU we recognize that our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions extends beyond our own institutional practices.  As an organization committed to teaching, discovery, creativity, and innovation, we deem it our responsibility to prepare students throughout the university to understand the implications of climate change and embrace principles of sustainability.  With the establishment of the Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU has launched a major research, teaching, and outreach initiative.  Combining strengths in transdisciplinary, “use-inspired” research focused on rapid urbanization, renewable energy, and integrated social science and policy, including the world’s first School of Sustainability, and a unique “Decision Theater,” ASU has begun to command a global leadership position.  To achieve this potential, GIOS coordinates the university’s relevant intellectual resources; solicits guidance from its powerful International Board of Trustees; emphasizes the policy implications of our sustainability research; and partners with industry and government to leverage solutions to sustainability challenges.

We now offer MAsPhDs, and a professional Certificate in Sustainable Management.  Beginning in Fall 2008, we will expand our offerings, and broaden our influence, to include BA and BS degrees in Sustainability.  All incoming freshmen are required to take a course that includes a module on the principles of sustainability.  Students are eager to become engaged in the process of creating a sustainable world, and, with our nurturing, are creating a Student Sustainability Coalition.  We see hope for the future in their energy, commitment, and zest to change the world.

Photo courtesy of Arizona State University

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